United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Gainesville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Social Security case was referred to the undersigned
magistrate judge upon consent of the parties and reference by
United States District Judge William Terrell Hodges. ECF No.
14. After consideration of the entire record, the Court
reverses the decision of the Acting Commissioner
(Commissioner) and remands the case for further
February 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for
Supplemental Security Income, alleging disability beginning
February 16, 2011. Tr. 95-115, 227-32, 250. The claim was
initially denied on April 9, 2013, and again on
reconsideration on August 6, 2013. Tr. 103, 115. Plaintiff
requested a hearing, and a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Kelley Fitzgerald (ALJ) on April 23,
2015. Tr. 56-89. A supplemental hearing was held on November
20, 2015, after additional medical records were submitted.
Tr. 34-55. Both hearings were held in Jacksonville, Florida,
and Plaintiff was represented by counsel in both hearings.
Tr. 56, 34. Plaintiff testified at each hearing. Tr. 60-82,
40-51. Ted Mitchell, an impartial vocational expert,
testified at the first hearing and A. Mark Capps, an
impartial vocational expert, testified at the second hearing.
Tr. 83-88, 51-54. On March 16, 2016, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision concluding that the Plaintiff was not
disabled, as defined in the Social Security Act, 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.920(g), and denying Plaintiff's claims. Tr.
19-29. Plaintiff's request for review was denied on
September 9, 2016. Tr. 1-3. Thus, the decision of the ALJ is
the final agency action. See 20 C.F.R. §
November 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in the United
States District Court, with exhibits, seeking review of the
ALJ's decision. ECF No. 1; ECF Nos. 1-1 through 1-5. On
February 3, 2017, the Defendant filed an Answer. ECF No. 10.
The record was also filed on February 3, 2017. ECF No. 11
(11-1 through 11-22). Both parties filed memoranda of law,
which have been considered. ECF Nos. 15, 16.
Findings of the ALJ
made several findings and conclusions relative to the issues
raised in this appeal:
1. “The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since February 12, 2013, the application
date.” Tr. 21 (citations omitted). The ALJ noted that
the medical record suggests that the claimant worked as an
auto mechanic subsequent to the application date, but that
the work activity did not rise to the level of substantial
gainful activity. Id.
2. “The claimant has the following severe impairments:
disorders of the right hip; disorders of the spine; disorders
of the left shoulder; and chronic obstructive disease
(COPD).” Tr. 21. The ALJ noted that the record suggests
excessive use of alcohol but does not show any ongoing
diagnosis of a substance abuse disease; and that this is not
a medically determinable impairment. Id.
3. “The claimant does not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the
severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.” Tr. 21. The ALJ noted that
the claimant's physical impairments, singly or in
combination, do not meet or medically equal the criteria of
the listed impairments, in particular the listing under
Section 1.00 (Musculoskeletal Disorders) and 3.00
(Respiratory Impairments) in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 416.920(d)). Id. The ALJ
further noted that the medical records do not demonstrate
that all the requirements set forth by any of the
aforementioned listings have been met and that no treating or
examining physician has mentioned findings equivalent in
severity to the criteria of any listed impairment (20 C.F.R.
416.920(c)). Id. at 21-22.
4. “[T]he claimant has the residual functional capacity
to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 416.967(a)
except with a need for a handheld assistive device for any
walking; no more than frequent climbing ramps/stairs; no more
than occasional bilateral overhead reaching, stooping,
crawling, climbing of ladders, ropes and scaffolds; no
concentrated exposure to extreme heat/cold; avoid even
moderate exposure to hazards (machinery, heights, etc.) or
pulmonary irritants (dust, fumes, odors, gases, poor
ventilation); no squatting or kneeling.” Id.
5. “The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant
work.” Tr. 26.
6. “The claimant . . . was 42 years old, which is
defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the date the
application was filed.” Id.
7. “The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English.” Id.
8. “Transferability of job skills is not an issue in
this case because the claimant's past relevant work is
9. “Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform.” Id.
10. “The claimant has not been under a disability, as
defined in the Social Security Act, since February 12, 2013,
the date the application was filed.” Tr. 27.
(citing 20 C.F.R. 416.920(g)).
decided that the claimant is not disabled under section